Three new Onesat GX satellites will be manufactured ready for launch from 2023
Shipping companies can expect a step change in connectivity in the next decade after Inmarsat announced plans to transform its Global Xpress (GX) network with new satellites.
Inmarsat contracted Airbus Defence & Space to build three new satellites for its GX Ka-band service, boosting the number of satellites in that network to 10 when they are brought into service in 2023.
Inmarsat chief executive Rupert Pearce said investing in the new Airbus Onesat satellites will provide Inmarsat with “greater velocity and agility with which to respond to future competitive challenges and to adopt new technologies on a highly dynamic, rolling basis.”
Airbus will manufacture satellites, GX7, GX8 and GX9, with the first scheduled to launch into geostationary orbits in H1 2023.
These will add capacity to existing Fleet Xpress (FX) services that combine Ka-band of GX with resilient L-band of FleetBroadband.
Shipping companies will not need to invest in new hardware as these Onesat satellites will be compatible with existing GX terminals.
Mr Pearce says this order is “the start of a new long-term strategic partnership” Inmarsat has with Airbus and confirms Inmarsat’s commitment to continuously invest in GX in the future.
These satellites will transform FX, which was introduced in March 2016 and is currently delivered by a quartet of fifth generation GX satellites.
Airbus built Inmarsat-4 spacecraft Alphasat and is building Inmarsat-6 satellites to boost the existing GX and L-band networks in 2020-2021.
This order is the first since Inmarsat’s management approved a US$3.4Bn takeover offer from a consortium of investors, which promised to finance new satellite construction. A team including Apax Partners, Warburg Pincus and two Canadian pension funds offered a £5.46 (US$7.20) per share all-cash buyout to shareholders in March 2019.